News from the 1st-XV
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Sunday, 12th November 2017
Andover 7 Old Reigatian 50
It was a really poor day at the office for Oakwood sponsored Andover as they went down to a heavy home defeat to high flying Old Reigatian.
The visitors look nailed on for a top two spot and a shot at promotion, but in truth it was a woeful first half hour from Andover that must have had them rubbing their hands with glee, as they ran in six unanswered first half tries.
Normally games between these two sides are close run affairs and at kick off there was no reason to believe this one would be any different.
After just a few minutes however, it was clear that Andover were not themselves and Reigatian are plenty good enough to take full advantage.
A series of penalties, poor clearances and unusually some poor scrummaging, left Andover reeling as Reigatian ran riot.
Even at this point the Andover faithful could see that Andover could compete if they stuck to their strengths, but as they pressed to get back into the game, an inability to keep possession for any length of time cost them dear.
In a desperate defensive rearguard Andover lost Kieran Jenvey to a yellow card and Tom Waite to injury, causing further change and reorganisation and as Reigatian continued to punish them, a cricket score looked on the cards.
Then, on the half hour, it was as though a light was switched on and Andover realised why they had turned up.
Busy young flanker Fin Waite stole a ball at a ruck, Ioan Gwynne Davies made a lovely break and Andover at last began to go through phases.
With ten minutes left in the half Reigatian suddenly looked vulnerable as Andover camped on their line.
Nic Reed, Simon Preece and the impressive Matt Moore all went close, but the chances went begging and half time arrived.
After the break attacking down the hill Andover carried on where they left off.
Giant prop Carl Sievewright transformed the scrum and Ollie Lindridge supplied a flow of lineout ball that now had Andover believing.
Billy Pollard and Reed began carrying hard and the game was transformed.
After a spell of wonderful pressure, Reigatian finally broke as skipper Alex Hibidge dived over a ruck for a try that would have been at home on an American football field, with Rich Retallick converting.
The game was at last a contest and Andover piled forwards. Gwynne Davies terrorised the visiting defence with several great breaks, but Andover just could not find the final pass.
Evan Roll and Lloyd Richards combined to almost put Ross Keir in, but as the move broke down Reigatian broke away and scored against the run of play.
Undaunted Andover came back strongly and continued to pile on pressure and thought they’d scored again but were judged to be held up on the line.
Reigatian once more showed how lethal they are on the counter and with fifteen minutes to go their eigth try could have broken Andover again.
Not so though, as the home side finally warmed their support with a spirited and sustained attack that had everything except points.
After the game Director of Rugby Andy Waite said ‘Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin. We had lots of changes with, injury, illness and unavailability but the lads that came in are good players and did very well as individuals.’
‘As you’d expect it took us a while to get our organisation right however and against a side this strong, whilst we were adjusting, they were scoring.’
‘We reacted very well after the break though and showed clearly that we can be a very good side, but it was too late by then. It was one of those days where everything we did went wrong and every chance they had they executed and at this level, the lesson is, when in doubt tighten the game up and keep possession.’